Apple has caught a lot of flak for the dearth of local data in its iOS mapping application, but that could get measurably better if rumors of a partnership with Foursquare Labs are true. According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple’s senior vice president Eddy Cue has been meeting with representatives from the popular social service. Last week, Cue got the rumor mill going by publishing a Foursquare check-in on Twitter, leading many to believe that a deal could be in the works. The Journal says that these talks have been happening over the past several weeks.

Apple's strategic disadvantage in mapping is only becoming more of a liability

In an interview with Brian Williams, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company would put its "full weight" behind remedying the many problems with Maps — a glaring problem in an otherwise strong iPhone 5 launch earlier this year. As pressure mounts from the likes of Google, whose long-awaited Maps app made a triumphant return to iOS earlier this week, Apple's strategic disadvantage in mapping — core functionality for any smartphone platform — is only becoming more of a liability. While Steve Jobs was still running the company he reportedly told at least one associate that "Apple could compete head-on with Google in local search," says The Journal.

Apple initially took a hard line on third-party apps that provided the same functionality as built-in ones, like the infamous case of Google Voice and the built-in dialer, but more recently, Apple has opened the floodgates to allow competing applications onto its platform. While the new competition has been great for users, Apple can't be excited about the degree to which rival Google is invading the iPhone's home screen, and given the company's enormous stockpile of cash, attempts to spend its way out of the predicament hardly come as a surprise.